Everyone should avoid driving under the intoxication of alcohol or drugs, but the issue is especially troublesome when it comes to commercial truck drivers. According to a recent study reported on by Reuters Health, drug use is common among drivers of big rigs. With the sheer size and weight of these vehicles, the stakes are higher with impaired drivers.
Due to these risks, there are strict regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to hold truck drivers to a high standard. Keep reading to learn more about these rules.
Blood alcohol limits and tests
Most states, including North Carolina, have a blood alcohol concentration limit for ordinary drivers. The BAC limit for motorists is 0.08 while commercial vehicle drivers have a limit of 0.04 as set by the FMCSA. The FMCSA also requires tractor-trailer drivers to take random alcohol tests under certain conditions, including reasonable suspicion, returning to driving after a violation and after an accident. According to the study mentioned above, truck drivers frequently admit to drinking alcoholic beverages.
Drug use and random tests
The same study found that drivers frequently used a variety of drugs, including amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana. Drivers may be subjected to drug tests under the same circumstances as alcohol tests, but a drug test may also be used as a condition of employment. Most drug tests screen for marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and opiates.
Alcohol and marijuana use can contribute to fatigue and decreased concentration. Cocaine and amphetamines are often used by drivers to stay awake during long hours. These two drugs can cause agitation, hallucinations and vertigo. All of these impairments can negatively affect reaction times.
While not every truck driver uses drugs or alcohol while on duty, it is still a pervasive and common problem. Truck driver impairment can result in catastrophic accidents to North Carolina motorists.